The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians has named Dr. Jeff Bachtel of Tallmadge as its 2019 Family Physician of the Year.

“From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a physician,” he said in a news release. “I never really thought of being anything else.”

He has been practicing family medicine for more than 34 years in his hometown of Tallmadge. He was selected for the 1981 BS/MD Charter Class at the Northeast Ohio Medical University and completed his residency at Akron General, now known as the Cleveland Clinic Akron General. He then opened his own practice in Tallmadge alongside his wife, Anne Bechtel, who serves as the practice manager.

“My first practice location was in a little white house converted into an office space by my Anne and I over many nights a weekends,” Bachtel said. “Fifteen patients came to see me on my first day in practice — I knew I made the right decision by staying home.”

The Columbus-based OAFP presents the Family Physician of the Year Award to a doctor who maintains high professional standards and service orientations; provides high quality and family-centered, continuing health care; and is active in their community.

“While I hope that caring about your patients and listening to your patients are mentioned more than once in medical school, I am not so certain that caring and listening are able to be taught,” longtime patient Janice Appel said in a prepared statement. “To me, these are innate abilities and Dr. Bachtel displays them so well every time I see him.”

Bachtel is a past president of the OAFP and has served on the board of directors for the past 25 years. He also has volunteered as the team physician for Tallmadge High School for 35 years. His role allows him to work with student athletes and offer mentorship opportunities to those who express interest in a medical career.

“I’ve lost count of how many [students] have gone on to become physicians, but four are now family physicians," he said.

He has been honored with many previous awards, including the Top Doctors of Cleveland award, the 2014 Ohio High School Athletic Association Team Physician of the Year, and Summa Health’s 2018 Family Physician of the Year.

Bachtel will be honored during the Academy Awards Dinner on Aug. 2 as a part of the Family Medicine Celebration at The Grand Event Center in Columbus.